As both a hard-core duck hunter and an award-winning taxidermist, Shane Candler understands the importance of reliving the memory of the hunt, especially when it comes to mounting that first-ever species or trophy from the hunt of a lifetime. 

He offers the following “tax tips” for waterfowlers to insure they get a good jump on a good mount:

• Look the bird over for massive wounds. A taxidermist can’t replace missing hide or feathers and not all birds are good candidates for mounting.

• Young birds or late molting birds may still have pinfeathers in their coats. Pinfeathers are hard to mount and will eventually fall out, leaving gaps in the mount.

• Don’t put a bird you intend to mount on a lanyard or hold it by the neck. Carry the bird by its feet or in a pouch until the hunt is over.

• Don’t gut or field dress any bird you intend to have mounted.

• Never wrap a bird in newspaper. This age-old misconception dries the bird out and makes it susceptible to freezer burn. Taxidermists will wash any blood stained feathers before mounting the skin. 

• Store a bird to be mounted in a double seal zip-lock bag and squeeze as much air out as possible.

• Get your bird to a taxidermist as quickly as possible in order to properly store the bird before mounting.